I had the house to myself last week and I took the opportunity to clean. In addition to the usual vacuuming, dishes, laundry and the like, I went through the clutter and nothing was safe. I started in the family room and went through a basket containing all the note cards, magazines, scientific journals, junk mail to look at later and travel brochures. All the junk mail and magazines went into the recycle bin without a second thought, but the scientific periodicals, note cards and travel brochures were a little more difficult.
Most of the travel brochures were Alaska-themed. The brochures from our 2010 trip ended up in the recycle bin, but I hung on to the rest and stuffed them in a manila envelope titled "Alaska trips to take", because you know, I do plan to return to the state of the midnight sun someday. I lingered on the remaining brochures, thumbing through them in a wistful air. Cruise around New Zealand? I wish. Scotland and Ireland? Awww, it pains me, but no. Iceland. How cool would that be? Toss. Toss. Toss. All in the recycle bin.
The scientific journals were all work-related and each one was akin to solving a mystery. Almost all the periodicals had a sticky tab attached to a page. I created 2 piles; one pile for the journals to be filed and the other pile for the issues to remain in the basket to be read.
Hey, here's the article on nest box traps. I already made a copy of that paper. To be filed.
Hmm, now why in the world did I want this one? Oh! That one is DC's vireo study. Sorry dude, no time for that now. To be filed.
Well this journal has TWO papers on wintering grassland birds. Keep in the basket.
Another method for assessing reproductive success. Gah. As much as I hate math, this one has to stay. Keep in the basket.
WHY did I keep this one? I flipped through the paper and found the literature cited portion heavily highlighted. Great, more crap to look up and read. Sigh. Keep in the basket.
Sorting through the periodicals took the longest and after emptying and reorganizing the basket, I called it a day but took a box filled with books and another box with CDs downstairs. However, one look downstairs told me where I would be spending most of my de-cluttering energy in the near future.
Another day was spent in the kitchen scrubbing the floor, throwing out expired goods and spices and deciding which appliances and gadgets to donate to Goodwill. I found an extra bread pan, the cake pan I couldn't find over Christmas holiday and some flat Teflon thingie to grill vegetables on.
Once the kitchen was clean and clutter free, I descended into the bowels of the basement. I spent 3 days down there, about an hour each day combing through boxes and walking down memory lane. When and how did I accumulate so much crap? Old dresses, shirts, shoes, stuffed animals, papers from college, photographs, greeting cards, postcards and more.
I also got a glimpse of Danno's childhood. D&D figurines, lots of computer discs, comic books, board games and this holiday outfit he wore as an infant
How cute is this?
I also found gadgets given as past Birthday and Christmas presents that were placed in the basement due to lack of kitchen space. Many of them forgotten until now. I'm trying to figure out where to put the Cocoa Latte set that my sis-in-law gave me for Christmas one year. Lattes! I can't believe I chucked that into the basement. What was I thinking??
A total of 4 boxes were donated to Goodwill and the basement doesn't look much different. But I suppose years of accumulation doesn't diminish in a matter of hours. It will take more time and trips down memory lane to clean.